are you in?
Our content is reader supported, which means when you buy from links you click on, we may earn a commission.
- Who: Drew Badger
- Website: englishanyone.com
- Course Topic: English language courses
- Interesting Stats: Almost at 1 million YouTube subscribers
Who are you and what courses have you created?
I help adult English learners who struggle to speak finally become fluent, and I’ve created a number of focused English learning courses to help my students. Traditional English language lessons – like lessons in any language – train students to think and translate in their heads.
These lessons also don’t teach the real words natives use in conversations. So my programs help them learn the right vocabulary and develop the right communication habits, that allow them to express themselves confidently.
I’m from Chicago but currently live in Japan with my wife and two daughters.
What market do your online courses serve?
We help English language learners who want to speak confidently.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your courses?
The biggest benefit learners get is the ability to express themselves quickly, confidently, correctly and naturally. When you need to speak a second language and can’t, it’s incredibly frustrating. It’s like having the body of an adult but the speaking ability of a child. So by learning the real words and phrases natives use, learners become much more confident and start impressing people instead of feeling shy and embarrassed.
How did you get into the market?
I’m a language learner, too. I struggled to learn different languages for over 20 years. I remember having to learn Latin in elementary school, and how much I hated it. Latin. Crazy, right?
But this is how everyone teaches languages. Once I figured out I had to learn like natives if I wanted to speak like natives, I finally became fluent in Japanese. And I used the lessons I gained first as a classroom teacher out here, and now online in online lessons, YouTube videos and my new app (Frederick: Learn to Read).As a note for those curious about starting a course, the best ideas come from the market, NOT YOU. So pay attention to the problems and frustrations your market has. -Drew Badger Click To Tweet
What keeps them up at night, and what do they want to solve? Most people feel their problems strongly, but don’t know a good solution (or they wouldn’t be suffering!). So listen and build – or find someone else to build – a great solution.
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
I wanted to leverage, and build assets that helped people even when I was asleep. I enjoy teaching, but I wanted to teach something once, have it help millions of people and then move on to the next lesson. Classroom teachers teach the same thing again and again, and can only help a limited number of students.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?
Even after helping people online for over 10 years, I still doubt courses and offers. I’m still surprised by how some things catch fire and how “sure winners” turn out to be duds. But you can lessen this risk if you build your solution WITH the market. The worst thing you can do is GUESS what the market will want, spend many months creating it and then release it either to no one (or to a very small audience).
The actual creation of courses is pretty easy. Remember that people are mostly concerned with the result, and not so much about the packaging.
The more painful the problem the more thankful – and forgiving – people are of what you might think isn’t perfect. Do what you can with what you have, and know you can always iterate on it.
If so what made you turn it around and do it anyway?
Iteration is the key. You lesson risk and build your confidence the more you get ideas from the market. Don’t build in isolation. I learned this the hard way after spending almost a year making a book for Japanese kids. I did all the artwork, book design and even found a publisher. But I barely sold a handful of copies when I released it. Don’t make this mistake.
What are your online courses like?
Most of my courses are just talking head videos of me speaking, or action shots to demonstrate English in context. A good example is my Visual Guide to Phrasal Verbs. This began as an idea for something simple that native speakers use that non-natives could learn. Phrasal verbs (pick up, stand up, turn over, etc.) help learners improve all of their communication skills, so this topic was a great solution for me, and it’s still a great seller years after I made it.
How long did it take you to create your first course?
It didn’t take long to write and then produce the videos once I had the idea. Maybe a few weeks. I recorded myself for some lessons and found clips I could use on videoblocks.com. They’re awesome and cheap!
But the most important thing over creation is sales and marketing. I sold the course BEFORE I made it to make sure there was real demand. I had a list of learners who knew me and I told them about the program, offering them to “pre-order” based on the idea alone, for a nice discount. Students were interested, so I made the course, and even iterated on it a few times until it was perfect for people.
Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).
I sold the course to my list first to make sure there was real demand. Never ask people IF they’ll buy something. Get the actual cash. So either people pay and you build, or you refund the few people who did buy early and go back to the drawing board. Today, people still buy this program from follow-up emails and YouTube videos.
Do you have a lead magnet?
I have a series of focused guides that I offer to students. Each focuses on a different problem, like listening, grammar, etc. Students who arrive at our site usually take a quiz that asks them questions to figure out which problem they need the most help with. Students love to go through this quiz and they get the information that’s most appropriate for them. These leads then get sent more free, goodwill content and link to offers.
What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?
YouTube is great. If you find a nice niche, this is a fantastic way to get your message out there, and for you to send organic leads back to your site. I mentioned earlier that I wanted to leverage, and YouTube gives you the perfect way to do this.
What online course platform are you using?
I just make my own videos and put them up in Kajabi. It works well enough, and they just released a mobile app that’s free for end-users, so we’ve now got all of our content in a mobile app.
Are there any features you wish it had?
Nothing special, other than a few organizational tools, like making it easier to add or remove multiple courses from an account. They had this feature in their original system.
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
We use ClickFunnels for sales and InfusionSoft for our customer management.
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
Seriously, focus on sales and marketing, not on how to build courses. Start with these books:
- Blue Ocean Strategy
- The Ultimate Sales Machine
- Breakthrough Advertising
- Spin Selling
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
The biggest mistake is, again, trying to build something by yourself. Listen to the market. Business is a customer looking for a result. So be wedded to your market, and not your idea. Whenever I’ve listened to my own good ideas instead of what the market was asking for, I’ve mostly failed.
Please share some idea of revenue.
Our numbers fluctuate depending on the month, but we’ve done over 7 figures in sales.
Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your courses has done for you.
Vacations and all that has been great, but I actually spent most of the profit back into the business to build our new app (Frederick: Learn to Read). It’s the system I wanted to give to people since before there were smartphones and tablets, and it’s the world’s fastest way to teach yourself to read, spell and pronounce English. Even native English speakers are using it now.
When you earn, remember to put some of it into a different kind of investment or asset because no business is immune to competition or age.
In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?
We’re about to hit 1 million subscribers on YouTube, which is pretty cool. We did this by getting to the core problems natives had, and by being early. There’s still space in many niches, so look for what problems aren’t being addressed in your market.
A way to get started on YouTube would be to make a few videos and post links to them in forums where people have questions about things. “I made a video answering this. Here’s the link. Please share it if it’s helpful!” Pretty simple.
Then HELP people in the video, and offer a lead magnet at the end people can click to your site for. Then, run the videos as ads and see how they do. You’ll grow faster than most people who are trying to make money from AdSense ads on their videos (and don’t realize you can earn a lot more by selling products).
What has creating your training done for you personally?
It’s been great knowing I’ve helped millions of people. It certainly builds confidence, but freedom is the coolest part for me. I can work when I want, and build the things I want for people.
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
We hear success stories from our learners every day. When you finally become a confident speaker, your world literally opens up. You get so many more opportunities and feel so much more excited about life. This is also what happened to me when I became a fluent speaker of Japanese.
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
Find a market first and LISTEN. Don’t worry about having an idea, or not knowing how to code or create a course or whatever.The goal of a solution provider (entrepreneur) is to design the solution, but others may be the ones building it. -Drew Badger Click To Tweet
Listen and you’ll hear what needs to be made. Ask what’s painful.